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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

854 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 854
Reviews: 484
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 10.11%

Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: bewareOFpenguin on 04-07-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 854 | Reviews: 484 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Barlow

New Hampshire

4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap on Kate Day 2011 (3 glasses).

Dark body with a small ring of tan head. Looks a bit thinner than some big stouts, but very inviting. Smells lovely. Roasty, chocolatey, goodness.

Taste is quite complex. There is so much going on but so very balanced. Chocolate, plum, roasted malt, vanilla. Mouthfeel is perfect for the flavor profile. 12% abv is barely noticeable.

Wonderful RIS. Very drinkable and perfectly balanced. Can't wait to have this again. Wish it wasn't so hard to come by.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2011 00:13:26 | More by Barlow
Photo of Floydster


4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 ounce bomber acquired in a trade with brewandbbq, gave up one of my cherished Angel's Share bottles for this one, so I had high expectations going in and I was really hoping it was a great beer, thanks for giving me the opportunity to taste this hard to find brew and I look forward to doing more trades with you in the future, planned on holding on to this one for another six months or so but my will power failed and I gave in like I always do

I have never tried any other beer from this brewery, simply wanted to try this because some friends said it was great and it is in high demand with people on this site, had to see what all the hype was about for myself

Had to drink something special for review #450

Currently sipping on the last of this bottle as I write this, wishing I had more to pour into my snifter

This was not the latest batch that just came out, it was the one released before that, so I think this had a little over a year of age behind its belt

Poured into my Dogfish Head snifter with a dark dark black color, resembled black mud or thick tar, there was inch thick head that was tan color, foamy and bumpy, did not settle for about five minutes, good retention and an amazing amount of lacing

Smell is awesomely strong, sweet chocolate, lots of cream, dark roasted malt, faint coffee notes, toffee, caramel, spices, and a small amount of different dark fruits

Taste was fantastic, lots of sweet malt from the beginning that consisted of chocolate and creamy accents, in the aftertaste I was able to taste faint flavors of raisins, prunes, red apples, and raspberries, very odd for a stout but there was lots of sugar and sweetness in this one, lots of chewiness and still some small amounts of hoppiness that balance some of the tangy malt, the coffee flavors did not come until later when it warmed significantly, the closer to room temperature this got the better it tasted, started tasting some fig and vanilla towards the end, the spiciness in the finish was great as well, went great along with the chocolate malt characters, overall this was an outstanding RIS that I feel lucky for getting to try, with all these different tastes, it was still a calm and easy to drink beer, everything blended together beautifully

One of the thickest bodies I have ever seen and it also had a perfect amount of carbonation, only small complaint here is that the taste does not linger for long, which made me drink this faster than I wanted to

Almost too drinkable if that makes sense, hard to get and only available at the brewery I think, making this sad because I might not have this again for a very long time, not filling at all, goes down easier than any other Imperial Stout, alcohol is well hidden, did not feel like nine and a half percent

This is a little better than Dark Lord in my opinion, definitely easier to drink, probably the best RIS I have to date, so much going on but so mellow at the same time, wish I had a case of this stuff along with two hundred plus other users on this site, this belongs in the top ten of the beers I have tasted so far, Kate is certainly great, I cannot recommend this one enough, worth trading tons of beer to get it which is what people usually require to cough up a bottle, I cannot wait to drink this one again some time, congratulations to Portsmouth for brewing this masterpiece

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 06:58:46 | More by Floydster
Photo of HopDerek


4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a blacker than black that says to light "thou shall not pass" with a good bubbly tan head. Smells of sweet chocolate, roasted chocolate malt, and alcohol. Taste is that of sweet chocolate with some dark fruits, a hint of coffee, with a touch of hops in the finish. Alcohol present the entire time, but it doesn't hinder any of the flavors, actually complimenting and accentuating them very well. Medium to full in body and very smooth. A very drinkable RIS, and very unique compared to most of the others out there. If only it wasn't such a challenge to obtain, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it, thanks to Kegatron for sharing.

Serving type: growler

12-30-2007 23:18:03 | More by HopDerek
Photo of fo5s

District of Columbia

4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz brown bottle with generic portsmouth brewery label. Only the poorly inked "Imperial Stout" stamp near the bottom gives hint to the treasure inside. No freshness date, but this one should be good for a long time. 2007 vintage. Drank in celebration of the patriots unbeaten regular season. Poured aggressively into a mug.

Appearance- Thick, motor oil black. As expected for any imperial stout. Very small dark brown head. Shouts "DRINK ME!" and took self control to sit down and get the patriots postgame on before diving in.

Smell- Chocolates, roasted malts, hints of coffee and dark fruits. It already tastes good, and I haven't even put it to my lips yet.

Taste- Makes good on the promises of the smell with dark chocolate, roasted malts, and a deep, subtle fruit taste. Small hint of coffee that hangs with the aftertaste. Alcohol is very well hidden, especially if the 2007 is 11% as I've been hearing. Taste improves as it warms, but is best in the happy medium between the serving temp and room temp.

Mouthfeel- Thick, creamy. Creamier than other imp stouts I've had.

Drinkability- Impressive. If not for the high alcohol (and perhaps rarity) I could drink this all night. The creaminess/smoothness is unlike any imp stout I've ever had and serves to make it even more drinkable.

Absolutely amazing beer. As far as I'm concerned, this is well worth the praise and hype its been receiving.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 16:45:03 | More by fo5s
Photo of rolands6

Rhode Island

4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At 2:27 the bar erupted into a cheer as the keg was tapped and for good reason. Poured in a tulip glass arrived at table with a decent 1cm head. Beer is very dark but drinks easily. Strong aroma, light in the mouth ,light carbonation and I could not detect any alcohol taste under the big chocolate and malt flavors. A hint of berry. Loved this beer and have 2 bottles at home to try on a special day.

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2008 14:44:29 | More by rolands6
Photo of rudylaw


4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First beer in the Holy Stout tasting (2009 bottle). HUGE thanks to masterhomebrewer for the opportunity!

Pitch black pour with a thick, tan head which dissipates immediately.

Lots of chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits in the sniffer.

The body of the beer is a little lighter than I hoped for, but man is this smooth! Raisins, chocolate, toffee, sweetness. Not much coffee at all which is just fine by me.

Low carbonation leading to an extremely smooth mouthfeel.

All in all, one of the best RIS's I've ever had. I made sure we started the evening off with this as my taste buds deserved nothing less. Absolutely incredible!

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 04:20:59 | More by rudylaw
Photo of bobv


4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared this with my nephew over an extended Thanksgiving Imperial Stout tasting weekend which included a side trip to DFH brewery and brewpub.

Well, here goes:

Dark as night, she is. A little head that subsides fairly slowly.
On the nose she is perfectly balanced with cherry, chocolate, and coffee. Alcohol is present, but perfectly so.
She tastes like she smells: perfect
Mouthfeel just a tad flat.
I'll have two more please!

As this stout warms, she gets a little sweeter and even more intense. A true classic!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 15:57:38 | More by bobv
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared this wonderful, ridiculous brew recently with friends, vintage 2010. Have to say big thanks to TCassel1 who traded me this beer over a year ago now, thanks a lot man hope to trade with you again soon.

A: Very dark with small tan head that dies to a ring. Little bit of lacing, pretty good look.

S: Super dark smell with tons of roast and notes of the port and dark fruit shine through. Leather, fudge, musty cellar, maybe a little bit of woodiness come through as well.

T: Super tasty beer with the port shining through nicely on top of the roasted malt notes. Coffee bitters that linger are very nice with some sweeter chocolate and alcohol notes. Caramel, A dose of dark fruit with maybe the slightest tartness, a little leather-soy (in a good way!), a tiny bit of oak, and burnt oak too. Some sweet tastes of candy plum and brown sugar are nice as well. Super complex and worth the hype.

M: Super viscous and just enough carbonation. Great.

Overall an outstanding beer I hope to have the honor of drinking again. A triumph.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 02:26:50 | More by Dreadnaught33


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slides out of the bottle settling in to the glass like used motor oil black. Head is carmel brown in color standing at an inch and a half, fading fast and leaving no lace. The nose imediatly has strong tones of alchol soaked black cherries and some anise all wraped up in dark chocolate syrup. With first sip you get a bold rustic gritty richness that really soaks the senses. Layers of dark chocolate, rich fresh toffee, roasty carmalized maltiness and honey buttered biscuits. This beer really shines with complexity and balance for a big stout. Mouthfeel is big and thick but pleasant with zesty coco notes. A vanilla sense is there also. Exceptionally drinkable and completely worth all the noise. As close to perfect as a stout gets.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 23:34:06 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of joepais


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery I guess it time I finally review this wonderful elixir.
The barkeep brought me my tulip style glass the body was Jet black almost looks like molasses topped of with a coco colored head that turns to thick lace that slides down the glass while you drink it .

Aromas of roasted malts so you get your typical coffee and chocolate notes but you have to let Kate warm for her true colors to show in the nose .I sat one glass aside while I drank my first and the second glass really had wonderful vanilla notes along with the port oak note as well

Coco flavor's my wife said at one point it was choc full of chocolaty goodness so it kind of reminded her of ovelteen slight bitter roasted aftertaste to help balance out the malts This is the 4th batch I have had and I will say I think this one is a little bigger in the alcohol then the rest maybe it because it warmer out but it did sneak up on me this time

Thick, rich and full are words that come to mind when describing the mouthfeel almost no carbonation after the pour

I ended up with getting my usual 6 glass per batch even though she didn't stay around as long but I normally don't drink two of them in one day either I did this time around. my common practice it to nurse a glass for about an hour it is one of those brews you just hate to finish I gets better at room temperature so I always take my time anyways .Now I will tell you this is a beer geeks beer so its not for everyone. I have seen people send it back, and a few of the regulars just can't drink it. Although lately they are in the minority

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2008 00:49:00 | More by joepais
Photo of kirok1999


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mcallister for generously sharing this bottle.
Pours a beautiful black, no light stands a chance to get through. Nice light brown head that laces like sticky glue. This thing has legs like oil on the side of the glass.
Smell is very sweet. The alcohol comes through very strong in a nice way. Lots of bourbon, wood, charcoal, tannin, sugar and sweet, cold coffee.
Taste is rich, creamy and sweet but not in a real cloying way. Not at all thick and viscous. It begins nicely sweet with a good amount of chocolate in the middle. Lots of tannin and charcoal in the finish and a nice exhalation of alcohol
This is as smooth as any beer I've ever had. Richly creamy and lush.
Very easy to drink. I could seriously drink one of these every day. It's not so heavy as Dark Lord yet has many of the same characterisics. I want more!

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2008 00:31:49 | More by kirok1999
Photo of RustyDiamond


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

08 written in marker on front, silver cap. Had her in my cellar for far too long. Nice crisp pop when opened and poured into my snifter. Slow rising seductive cappucino tan head. Quite frothy two fingers with a nice mound of tiny little bubbles in the middle. Very dark brown 95% black in appearance.
Dark cherry & plum underlying sweetness on the aroma with some deep, dark chocolate whiffs. Rounding it all off is just a touch of phenol. Truly intoxicating & enjoyable.
Galaxy lacing in the glass. Oily on the lips, dark fruit hop bitter on the nose. Prickly carb more fruit. Dark chocolate bitterness ensues. Nice and tannic, super complex. Subtely hot alcoholy with a syrupy green hoppy mouthfeel. Finishes hoppy and chocolate bitter. The growler in had in 2007 was a tad better than this, but regardless this is one fine RIS.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 20:56:34 | More by RustyDiamond
Photo of MisterClean


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Abecall for landing this one and sharing.

A - Pours brown with 1/2 finger of head, which quickly settles to flatness. Leaves little to no lacing. Carbonation is low.

S/T - Light roast coffee, with light chocolate, oak, vanilla, bourbon barrel, and finishes with dark fruits, which are possibly plums. Hops are minimal and the beer is very complex. The taste is just incredible; very balanced, and delicate.

M - Full-bodied, malt dominated, and sweet. It is very syrupy and delicious.

D - Damn. Perfect overall. No alcohol feel, just some improvements on the head, would make this beer perfect. Well worth the hype. Even with a lack of hoppiness, the beer has a unique balance of malts.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2010 22:06:26 | More by MisterClean
Photo of errantnight


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted in a Spiegelau tulip during a RIS tasting (with plain crackers and water for palate cleansing between tastings).

Well, I was plenty prepared to be disappointed by this. From mixed reviews from those who weren't devotees... to the flawed Sexual Chocolate and BBVD I'd just tasted... but this blew me away and has me hungering to obtain future bottles.

Looks like a deep, viscous, liquid milk chocolate in the glass. Rich, dense, creamy looking head with solid retention and lacing.

The aroma is just sublime. Big notes of tobacco and leather, hints of smoke and light coffee, roasty, earthy, even a bit of cocoa. This just hits my pleasure center in the, uh, center.

The palate delivers on the promise of the nose, although it's definitely more plummy and dark, dried fruit than anticipated. Brown sugar and toffee, dark chocolate with a great, drying, lightly tannic finish. Like chocolate chip cookies with nuts.

Rounded, medium full and clean.

Just epic. Superbly brewed, developed, cared for... just wow. An instant favorite.

Thanks, rpstevens, for making this happen for me.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 22:30:30 | More by errantnight
Photo of Number45forever


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was my first Kate Day. A buddy and I drove from Vermont down to Portsmouth...we left at 6 am and pulled into the garage behind the brewery at 7:55. The line was around the block and down the alley, at least 150 people in line already. This is not a beer: it's an experience.

In line, we chatted with a couple who flew in from Maryland for Kate Day. Yeah. I briefly chatted with the guys at the front of the line (while walking around to keep some circulation). Despite the 25 degree temps, and 15 mph winds, it was a very, very happy crowd.

At 10:40 or so, the line started moving! The brewery holds 240 people...it was going to be close as to whether or not we got in during the first wave. Fast forward to 11:20 - T-Minus 10 minutes to Kate-tapping. We were at the door...and were called in to fill a table. We hugged as we crossed the door, slapped a high five to people in the front booth, and floated to our booth in pure joy.

15 minutes later, we had Kate. Oh, Kate.

It poured a deep, deep brown - not quite black in my estimation. Big alcohol legs. The chalkboards in there said Kate was 10% ABV - not 12 as previous versions were. Depending on the vigorousness of your pour, Kate BRIEFY retained a 1.5 finger head in the special Kate-Day snifter glass.

Kate has a smell like nothing else. Lots of chocolate, some coffee, dark dank roastiness. It smells, as it would taste...like a symphony of flavors in delicate balance. I could not smell any port or fruit notes....mostly a heavenly deep mocha, like the finest chocolate ever.

Kate tastes magical. The first sip hits you with a splash of bitterness. Hello baby. Then sweet chocolate and the SLIGHTEST dash of dried fruit before a rich, dark, bitter cocoa finish. So smooth. Light carbonation opened up the coffee notes very well. This is a sipper like nothing else I have ever had. It comes at you in waves: Boom, coffee. Boom, dark cocoa. Such balance. Such perfect harmony.

Kate tickles the tongue when the glass is fresh, a light carbonation with a creamy finish. Sassy. As you sip and savor, Kate warms, the carbonation fades, and Kate softens. Ah, now you've won this mistress over. Smooth.

Kate is the BEST beer I have ever had. No, I haven't had everything there is to have. But I know one thing: if I was leaving this earth tomorrow, I'd pick Kate tonight.


I had five glasses of the temptress Kate. Five journeys through the bliss of Kate. Each an experience, each savored to the last drop. Before taking my last sip, I said a hail mary and thanked the beer gods for providing me an opportunity to enjoy such a brew.


Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2012 01:52:28 | More by Number45forever
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had a bottle of the '09 Kate last night (05AUG09) to celebrate the 21st birthday of my 1st daughter, Caitlin (who is on an Alaskan cruise!). I must say it was as fantastic as ever! Full bodied and satiny smooth! Luscious aromas wafting all about in the 'Zebo... Rich chocolate, dark fruit, seductive sweetness... Magnificent!
Happy Birthday, Princess!! Zum Wohl!!

*** ***

26APR09 - Last night I dug into a growler of Kate, which I had originally purchased on 22DEC07. I'll bet it was the last of its kind! Opened up, it still let out a nice little "whoosh". Poured a deep, dark, opaque brown, with a creamy, tan 1/2" head. Maintained a thin layer of fine foam, with excellent lacing. Rich aromas of chocolate and roasty malts waft about. Body is thick and chewy, with a smooth creamy feel. Oh yeah! Flavor still has plenty of roasty chocolate and semisweetness, with minimal bitterness. Dark fruit notes linger in the background, like raisins and currants, along with some brown sugar and molasses. After sitting 16 months in a growler, Kate is as lovely as ever! Prosit!!

*** ***

22DEC07 - Have been to the brewpub the last couple of weekends, and have scored more Kate, both on tap at the source, and in growler form (being quaffed as I type). It's as good as ever! Am upping the appearance score, as it starts with a mousse-like mocha-hued head of about 1/2", dropping to a thin layer yet lacing up the glass lovingly. Nose is beauteous, with roastiness, dark fruit, and choco.... Smooth, full-bodied, thick and chewy....damn!!!
Flavor is chock full of a bit of this and some of that... roasty malts, chocolate, mocha, molasses, figs, currants, floral hop action. Wow! I love this bier, and am not too surprised by the attention being lavished on it right now by bier-lovers near and far. It's better than ever. And, a great value as well. $5.00 gets you 12oz, or a pint if you're in the Pint Club. Forgo a bomber in the store ($10.00) and get a 1/2 gallon growler for $16.00. Dark Lord, you've met your match! Great, great bier, Tod!


overall: 4.9
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 5

*** ***

I snuck away from home today (17APR05) to one of my favorite brewpubs and scored a few pints of black gold. And all I could think about was how Venom would just simply love this stuff... ;-) ...!!

Being a mug-clubber here, I was able to get a pint of Kate, as opposed to the normal 12oz pour of this higher octane nectar. (And this is a different recipe from Tod, JayT and gang at Portsmouth compared to years past. Old recipe was called Crazed Cossack; now called Kate the Great). 'Twas a jet black, oily thick, dense liquid, with no light penetrating whatsoever. Head was creamy and tan, though fine and rather thin, fading quickly. Lacing was average... Nose was malty, sweet, and with molasses notes. It suggests richness and complexity, with dark fruit and floral aspects. Feel on the tongue was luscious! Thick, smooth, chewy and silky. What a mouthfull! Superb! Flavor was simply a cornucopia of different tastes, running the gamut from sweet to fruity. Sweetness abounds, with molasses notes and choco-roasty flavors (though light). And then there's the loads of dark fruit, coming at you from all angles; raisins, figs, dates, black currants....even almost a chocolate-covered cherry taste...mmm!! Bitterness is rather muted, with just a smidge of floral, hop notes at the finish. Rather, the sweetness is what lingers long and hard on the palate, with the abv warmth making a play for your attention as well. A big time keeper! Made even more pleasurable whilst quaffed in the presence of the one, the only...JohnnyP, at the brewpub. And more kudos are sent Mr P's way, as he picked up a growler of this beauty for me to bring home!! Thnx Bro!!

(4.0/4.5/5.0/5.0/5.0 = 4.70)

Zum Wohl!!!


Serving type: on-tap

04-17-2005 01:09:13 | More by Bierman9
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

finally made it to the pub to try this elusive brew. definitely worth the effort!

A - motor oil. Pitch black color with dark tan head that slowly develops and never dissipates.
S - To my nose at least this was a very mild brew. Once past the mid point of my glass the brew warmed up some and let off nice aromas of smoky, roasty grains, chocolate, molasses and sweet dark malts
T - all I noted above with additional notes of port, oak, vanilla and a barest hint of espresso and piney hop to perfectly balance the sweet side of this beer.
M - rich, full bodied, creamy, medium carbonation, sweet, smooth, heavenly after taste.
D - wow! everything about this beer says big yet the net effect is so sublte, balanced and smooth is belies this big tag and is immensly approachable. Sip after sip, this one only gets better as you reach the bottom of the glass.

so often I have an RIS and it's over the top in one way or another but it leaves me wanting something a bit more in the experience. This one is a work of art and it shows. My hat's off to the brewer on this one!

Serving type: growler

12-19-2007 13:01:38 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of craptastic

New Hampshire

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The wife and I snuck out to the Portsmouth Brewery to pick up Kate the Great (KTG) on this mild winter day. We hit the store first and obtained the last two 22s of the aged KTG (nice!). The girl at the counter pointed out that they still had some KTG on tap, but indicated they would be dry by Monday (today being Saturday). I will follow up when I try the aged KTG, but what follows is for the freshies:

A- Dense, dark molasses color. Light does not penetrate this dark brew. Head was a light khaki tan color, leaving a fine lace around the glass.

S- Strong coffee tones with a bit of dark chocolate.

T- Wonderful. Coffee taste to compliment the scent. A bit of molasses gives a nice semi-sweetness. No bitterness, just a smooth flavor throughout hitting

M- Great mouthfeel; it was thick, and creamy just like a stout should be.

D- An everyday beer, if it could only be so. So smooth and pleasant to drink you'd be so lucky to get it at the corner store.

Serving type: growler

12-29-2007 20:33:43 | More by craptastic
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nothing but coincidence makes this my 200th review. Massive thanks to littlebreeze and mred137 for cracking this open during our tasting.

2006 version. Aged in a keg at the brewery for a year.

A: Black. No light could get through this. Some dark mocha head with tons of lacing.

S: Chocolate and roast up front. Hints of coffee in the back as well. While most RIS have these smells they were blended so well together. There really was not a dominant one.

T: Roasted malt, oats, chocolate, sweet malt then dark chocolate. It was like each taste took their turn then passed it on to the next with a seamless transition. I love it when beers do that. Probably the most complex RIS I have ever had to date.

M: Nice thick body that sticks to everything on it's way down.

D: I was told that the 06 makes the 07 seem rough and boozy. This was anything but that. The drinkability was off the charts for this beer. No hint of the ABV at all and it went down so easily. Reminded me of choklat in that regard. Glad I finally got to try this beer. Definitely lived up to the hype in my mind. Again big thanks to littlebreeze and mred137 for this surprise.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2008 16:14:56 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of Avryle

New York

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Night in the Woods" tasting 3.29.08
A huge surprise & many thanks to littlebreeze and mred137 for bringing this out at the "end" of the tasting!!

2006 Vintage- aged in a keg at the brewery for a year.

A- Black. No light shining through anywhere. Some dark tan head on the pour. Lots of intricate lacing throughout tasting session

S- Sweet malts, chocolate and roasted malts right up front. Coffee in there as well. A lot of "standard" RIS smells but this is so magnificently balanced in the nose.

T- Stardust, unicorn hair, fairy dust & rainbows!!
Oh and chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate. So incredibly complex & so well-balanced. This was truly amazing and lived up to the hype. The flavors increased dramatically as it warmed.

M- Creamy full body. Almost milky. The epitome of the style.

D- A 3oz pour was not nearly enough to satisfy my want of this beer. Again, wow. No clue that there was even alcohol in this. Again, huge kudos to littlebreeze and mred137 for this unexpected surprise.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2008 16:59:08 | More by Avryle
Photo of genog


4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 vintage - big thanks to Zutmin for hooking me up
22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Opaque rich and dark thick black liquid with a small amount of a frothy dark tan head that sticks around for a while.

Smell is of sweet roasted malts and sugars up front with some dark roasted coffee peeking through. Not a really strong aroma once I took a sip of this one.

Taste was my favorite part here bringing together a perfect harmony of all tastes lingering. Dark roasted coffee, espresso, sweet candied cherry, molasses burned espresso, chocolate, all delicious in thin quantities.

Mouth feel is lively and bubbly, and ties everything together.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2008 17:17:21 | More by genog
Photo of Imstillthegman


4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally able to try this elusive brew. Straight from the tap just moments after the release on 2/9/09. In a word : WOW!

This one came to me in a Portsmouth snifter. Deep, dark and reminiscent of motor oil but not as viscous. Dark tan head quickly faded to a ring. Some nice areas of lacing remained on the glass. This dark beauty was daring me to drink her.

The aroma, at first sniff, was big on the alcohol. Once I got passed the alcohol I noticed some bitter bakers chocolate, dark fruits, espresso malts, brown sugar, molasses, and some Port. Quite the combination.

The flavor...oh, my...the flavor. The first sip was a smack in the face. The alcohol, bakers chocolate, figs, and vanilla were in the beginning a shock to my system. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and went back for more. Wow. Amazing. Fantabulous. This beer was so damn good that I could have kept drinking it all night...oh, wait, I did. ;-) The flavors blended together masterfully. The tang of the molasses, the sweetness of the vanilla, bitterness of the bakers chocolate and espresso, the slightly soured smoothness of the dark fruits and the burn of the alcohol all combined to create a remarkable experience.

Smooth, full bodied brew. Nicely warming from the alcohol...especially on a day as cold as this one was. This beer just kept getting better with each glass. The atmosphere, I'm sure, added to the great experience of trying this beer and made it even better. Great job, Tod!

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2009 16:55:18 | More by Imstillthegman
Photo of tittymcj


4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank one glass of this at KtG day, and one bomber with my roommates.

Poured out an intensely thick black, with a beautiful tan colored head that didn't stick around for very long. Good lacing throughout.

The smell is unbelievable. The first thing that hits is the coffee and roasted malts, along with some chocolate. However, once you get past those thrills, the grape/wine portion comes into play heavily, and you can definitely smell the classic wine profile.

The taste is even better. Everything you would expect from this beer and more. Chocolate, coffee, chocolate coated fruits, chocolate-coffee wine. Just an incredible taste experience.

Mouthfeel is very deep. Not too thick, but thick enough to make sure that the flavor lingers. It forces you to recognize the different layers of flavor, and then when it leaves, it doesn't take the flavor residue with it.

Drinkability, despite my wishes to give this beer an overall 5 rating, cannot be so. I could drink many many many of these, simply because they are so delicious, but I can't justify giving such a heavy, flavorful beer a 5 on drinkability

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2009 19:20:03 | More by tittymcj
Photo of bulldogp04


4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'09 Vintage....What an amazing beer! This sweet little RIS takes us back to the essentials of the style: roasted malt, chocolate malt, caramunich malt, viscous. Pours a deep black, with a one finger dark head...burnt red tinge of color around the outside of the head. Smells of caramel chocolate milk duds. Tastes of the best chocolate-malted milk ball you've ever eaten, with a slight presence of tangy hop flavor and port wine. Alcohol is well-hidden...this sucker is a creeper ! Decently roasty, but not over the top. This is a very mature and smoothly melded beer for its young age.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 03:00:47 | More by bulldogp04
Photo of mavbrew


4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 Kate the Great Day, worth the wait - 3 glasses served in snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a two finger mocha/tan head. Head recedes leaving a film on the inside of the glass

S: Smell is not overwhelming, slight hints of chocolate, oak, caramel and coffee

T: Tastes of dark chocolate and roasted/smokey oak with first sip. Finishes with hints of caramel, molasses and malty flavor.

M: Medium to full bodied, smooth and creamy. Seems to have the perfect amount of carbonation

D: Very good beer, goes down very smooth without tasting the 9.5% ABV. This beer lives up to the hype, it is everything a RIS should be!

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2010 02:19:58 | More by mavbrew
Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 854 ratings.